Monday, April 3, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In April


April is a great time to really kick your prepping into gear. Besides the rain, the weather is warm enough to actually want to be outside. April is a great month to make lists and you will see that on at least two of the items this month. I am a big believer in making lists so I can prioritize what needs to be done or bought. By making these lists, you will be able to plan out your Spring and Summer. 

1. Walk around your house and your yard. Make a list of anything that needs to be repaired, replaced, or maintained. Prioritize the list and get cracking on the projects. If something bad happens, you don't want to have to worry about regular house maintenance.

2. Add meat (proteins) to your food storage. One of the most overlooked areas of food storage is meat. I know beans can provide protein also, but I believe meat is a better solution. I am not saying to not stock up on beans, but meat is also crucial. Buy several cans of canned chicken, turkey, and ham. Buy corned beef in a can and, if you can stomach it, Spam. Better yet, get your pressure canner out and can your meat!

3. Garage sales are getting started this month (at least in the Midwest). It is always great to save money on your preps and a lot of times used things are just as good as new. Make a list of what you want to add to your preps, get some cash, and start the hunt! I have found a good deal of my tools and my preps from garage sales. If you have kids, add their future needs to the list too. Being prepared for their next size and the next season may definitely be a game changer in the case of job loss or financial collapse.

4. Earth Day is in April. Celebrate by planting some trees for privacy and some edible perennials for a continuous food source. A lot of renewable, reusable, and kinder to the environment products will be on sale too. Consider adding stainless steel water bottles to your preps as well as solar chargers for devices and phones.

5. Protecting your home is a must. Do you have a plan to protect your home in case of an invasion or just an unwanted visitor? Come up with a plan, practice that plan, and refine the plan. If you aren't already doing this, lock up your house every time you leave. Teach your family to do the same. If you are afraid of them losing the key, keep one hidden somewhere. Teach your family to not allow strangers in the house unless you approve of them first (ex. repairmen). The list goes on, but keeping your home safe is a must!

What prepping things do you hope to accomplish in April?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, March 31, 2017

Monthly Update From The Homestead - March Edition (It's Spring!)


Why not write the March Update From The Homestead on the last day of the month? At least it is in March! That has been how fast this month has gone and I really haven't had a lot to talk about. 

I put off the writing of this because almost nothing has happened in the month of March on the homestead. The weather has been snow, wet, rain, wet, a few days of sun, and more days of clouds. And that is what I can remember...

I am looking at plans for the chicken coop. We are probably getting twenty layers this Spring. I think I have it narrowed down to what I want to built and still stay simple, but we do have to built it first. We will use what we have on hand, but I know we will have to buy materials. I know the coop will have to be more practical than cute which suits me fine. Do you have a coop design you love? Share a picture or a link to what coop you like!

I have been planning my garden too. I will probably put the garlic in a long planters or along the very edge of the garden next week. I haven't used up all the garlic from last year so I will probably use that to start the new batch. I am also going to start at least my tomatoes next week and bring them to work to grow. Yes, where I work is that relaxed and they have much, much better southern facing windows to grow things. I think I am going to start 30 tomato plants and see how they do. I know not all of them will live, but I kind of hope they do.

I also need to move the strawberries. I don't want to do it right now, but they really need to be moved to the edge of the garden. They were on the edge before we expanded. I know now is not a good time, but they really have to be moved!

I also have my potatoes ready to go to be planted. They are from last year and have sprouted already. They are sitting on the front porch to slow their growing. And maybe, just maybe, I will get them planted on Good Friday. Around here, a lot of people plant their potatoes on Good Friday. You can find a good explanation on why that written a year ago here. I don't usually plant on this date when it is in March, but by the middle of April, hopefully we are past most of the dangers of frost.

I sit on the line of 4B/5A planting zone so I generally use caution and plant according to Zone 4. Most of my garden will not go until May sometime. I am going to try to plant radishes, spinach, and lettuce early. I really want the garden tilled first so we need to wait until that is suitable for tilling first. Rob may have found a tiller for his older lawn tractor. If he can get that working, that will be groovy. Otherwise, we can rent a tiller too.

I know this sounds like a lot of planning and nothing happening, but that is the reality of life right now. I don't really even feel like a homesteader right now. I won't have an active garden for at least a month, don't have chickens or other livestock right now, and anything else that makes a person a homesteader. It just feels weird because I want to be more self-sufficient, but I am not actively doing anything right now except for planning.

On other projects, the bedroom is almost done. We just need to paint and put quarter round along the edges in the room. We also need to rewire a new light switch, switch out the ceiling fan, put new vent covers on, and put on covers for the outlets and light switch. I would like to paint the closets yet, but that is not a high priority job.

With the bedroom almost done upstairs, we moved the bed upstairs that was sitting in my food storage and emergency area taking up a lot of room! My food storage and emergency area is a disaster area right now. I really need to clean and organize it. I would love to add another set of shelves, but we are also moving the deep freeze over there. I also need to move the shelves away from the wall and clean. Fun, fun.

Paige in the white shirt playing in the saxophone quartet

That has been about it. Dane finished up with basketball. Paige is just her usual whirlwind of activity: track, helping with musical, solo/small group ensemble contest, and studying. Rob and I were both down with a cold and a virus. We didn't have them at the same time, but they really killed our energy levels for a few days.

The older two girls are staying busy in their lives. Shali moved to Sioux Falls in January. She moved in with her fiance and is expecting a little girl in June. She transferred from UNI to University of Sioux Falls. Jordan is still at UNI and studying. She works for the Y-Pals program and works a lot of before and after school shifts for them in the local schools.

What have you been up to this March? Let me know below!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, March 30, 2017

What Is Motivating Me To Prep Now? A Story of Losing Interest and Getting My Prepping Mojo Back!


I have a renewed interest in prepping.

But, Erica, I thought you were a prepper!

I was. I still am. But, for the last four months or so, I quit actively prepping. I did talk about it in one of my YouTube videos, but I was trying to figure out what exactly I needed to do. I didn't know what exactly to stockpile anymore. I didn't know which direction to take. I didn't know how exactly to take care of my family near and far. 

That happens. Preppers sometimes need a break. They lose interest a little bit. They get burned out. Family and job situations change. They need to reassess their situation. They move to a different area. The reasons are usually personal.

Sometimes those reasons aren't always personal. They look at the big picture and feel some security in the world. They thought there might be a war or crisis in their area or country and now the threat is gone. They liked the people in power and felt comfortable with the direction of the country. They didn't feel the need to prep anymore.

I admit I was caught up a bit in the election and post-election. I didn't care for any of the candidates, but I chose the one who was most aligned with my views on several issues. After the election, I thought with this guy in power, maybe America can be strong country again. He is a strong leader and businessman. He is making mistakes and learning the job, but he is going to have a rough time of being President.

However, he is not the reason for my renewed interest in prepping. The government is. In particular, Congress is. Our Congress (both houses) are going to be the ones that take down our country. They are just a bunch of power hungry, power drunk elected people who don't give a damn about the American people. Their carelessness, lack of empathy, and selfishness is a detriment to our government and to us. A few of them are in touch with their constituents and know what is going on. Most of them don't care. Quite a few of them are so out of touch with the reality of living and earning a living in America. 

They are one of the main reasons I prep now. Every day, the news and social media is plastered with their ineptness. They do not know what is best for our country. They just know who and what is going to line their pockets and that is who they serve. Do you think they care about you? Only during election time do they care. 

I have become so jaded about our country and political system. I was brought up to respect our President and I do. I was brought up to respect our country, flag, and the people who have fought and continue to fight for us. They have my utmost respect. 

However, I have lost respect for our governing leaders. I have become disgusted with the multitude of laws and bureaucracy that have entangled our services and our ways of life. The tickle down effect from Congress has infiltrated our state, county, and city governments. Just because you own property and pay property taxes (legal theft) doesn't mean you have the right to do as you please on your own property. That is wrong, folks.

That is why I prep now. This whole system(s) of government are going to implode sooner than later. What we have is not sustainable. The whole system(s) need an overhaul and that will also hurt a lot of people. In the process of imploding and overhauling, we will all be left to fend for ourselves. Worse, we might all be under martial law. 

We need to prep now more than ever. We need to be ready to defend ourselves and our loved ones. We need to be able to stay home for several days and feed ourselves. We need to be less dependent on the government and more independent. We need to do and care for ourselves. 

If more people were less dependent on the government and more dependent on ourselves, the government would be less effective. In the culture we live in now though, that might be hard to do. So many people find it easier to depend on the government than to truly work for what they need. Instead of being independent, they want someone else to take care of them. 

I prep so I don't find myself in that situation. When the government decides to implode, I won't be one of those who will be lost and destitute. Although those people will be a threat and a dangerous one at that. Mothers who have hungry children will definitely be a threat and a danger. They might even cause martial law because of their desperation. 

Does our government cause you worry? Does our country give you sleepless nights? What has gotten you back into prepping? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Biggest Lie We Tell Ourselves (For Preppers and Non-Preppers)


We all like to think we are straight shooters. We are pretty honest with ourselves and with others. However, being humans, we all have the ability to put our heads in the sand. We don't want to see when something bad is going to happen. We don't want to recognize the signs that trouble is on the way. We don't always want to take precautions to prevent problems.

Why is this? Because of the biggest lie we tell ourselves:

That will never happen to me (us). 

Most of us say this at one time or another. I know I have. We then find out we were wrong. Bad things will happen to us. That is just an universal truth. It doesn't matter if you are a prepper or not. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor. Bad things will happen, but how you handle it will be your doing.

For preppers, we like to think we know what is going to happen to us. We know what natural disasters could hit us, what catastrophic events could happen, and what every day life events could rearrange our lives. We like to think we are prepared for anything.

However, we can get arrogant. We think we have it all planned out. "That will never happen here or happen to us" is a phrase that gets thrown out to prove how much we know and what we expect will happen. However, when I see what some preppers are prepping for, I cringe.

Here are some of the things I don't always see preppers think about:

  • Are you ready to see what happens when you lose your job or income resources?
  • Are you ready to lose your home through fire, natural disaster, or foreclosure?
  • Are you ready to bug out somewhere else besides your home or one and only bug out shelter?
  • Are you ready to be handicapped due to an accident?
  • Are you ready to stranded in your vehicle or another location away from home for several days?
  • Are you ready to deal with limited supplies if trucks can't deliver goods or there is a gas shortage?
  • Are you ready to deal with having your supply and other things stolen?
  • Are you able to defend your home and family without a gun and ammo?
  • Are you able to live without running water for several days or deal with a tainted supply?
  • Are you ready to relocate yourself and your family quickly when a situation does happen?

We like to think we have planned for all of these things, but that is pure arrogance. Life throws curve balls. I know I don't have all things things addressed and they are things I really need to address. We might have things standing our way to get these things addressed. Money is a factor. Time is a factor. Life is a factor. These things need to be addressed. By saying "That will never happen to me", we are saying we don't want to think about or address these things. We are being ignorant and foolish.

For non-preppers, all those questions pertain to you too. I know by talking to some of you that you have all the confidence in the world that nothing bad will happen to you. You almost act surprised and offended by even suggesting such a thing.

However, you need the biggest wake-up call. I understand wanting to be optimistic and wanting the world to be a happy place. I also want those things and would even call myself an optimist. I am also a realist who understands I have no control over some of these bad things happening. You really need to be too.

Do you want to know why you need to realize that these things can happen to you? Because:

  • You are the ones on television wondering why FEMA isn't there with supplies yet.
  • You are the ones wondering how you will support your family after you lost a job that you never thought you would lose.
  • You are the ones who will be relying on the kindness of others to help you after you lost your home.
  • You are the ones who will be on government assistance because you cannot support yourselves anymore due to an accident.
  • You will be the ones who are helpless when your home is invaded and robbed because you have no means to defend yourselves. 
  • You will be the ones with no place to go when you are forcibly evacuated from your home.
  • You will be the ones who will starve or die of thirst because you had no food or water set aside for crisis situations. 

Do you think I am kidding? I am not, but I really hope you are never in those positions. I hope you start to believe that bad things can happen to you and you need to be prepared. Even FEMA recommends at least a week if not three weeks of emergency water, food, and supplies.

Do not lie to yourselves. As preppers and non-preppers, we can be too arrogant to realize that bad things can happen to us. We can always be better prepared.

And non-preppers? You are not too late to the party. Start prepping!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why Is A Whistle Important To Carry With You Every Day?


Many people have things they carry with them every day. Also known as everyday carry, we all have items that we carry on a key ring, in our pockets, on our belts, and/or in a holster. These are items we couldn't live without or wouldn't want to be without in case of an emergency or a situation. 

One of things I carry on my key ring which I carry in my jean pocket is a whistle. This is absolutely one item I wouldn't want to be without. I work in a place where we can not carry a weapon although our customers can. While this can be a problem (but never has been), a whistle can help me in a few ways. 

Blowing a whistle while in distress can alert co-workers that there is a problem. A loud, repeating whistle generally will get their attention or a customer's attention that I need help in some way. Whether I am inside or outside the building, I will almost guarantee to get someone's attention to get help. Yelling can work, but a whistle is usually louder and shriller and will get attention quicker.

Outside of work, having a whistle on the farm is also handy. If I am in distress on the farm, I can get attention faster using a whistle. While we try to work together when we are outside, that is not always possible. Having a whistle can be used more effectively to get attention and help.

Being out in public, a whistle can be your best friend if you are in distress or being attacked. When you are in distress or being attacked, the best thing you can do is blow that whistle if you do not have another way to defend yourself. Even if you can defend yourself, blowing a whistle can still get you help faster. 

Having a whistle can also help you get help for someone else. If you are near someone who is hurt and you don't feel comfortable or safe to leave them, you can blow the whistle for help. If you see someone in danger or being attacked, you can blow the whistle foe help before you try to help the endangered person(s). 

Having a whistle is not a replacement for defending yourself. It is a way to bring attention to yourself if you need help. While I would still defend myself or others with all that I have and can, having a whistle can definitely be a life-saving measure. That is why a whistle has a permanent spot in my every day carry items. 

What else should you carry in your every day carry? Let the other Prepared Bloggers tell you!

The Prepared Bloggers present - Everyday Carry Bag. What will you find in ours?

The Prepared Bloggers are at it again!

Everyday carry, or EDC for short, refers to items that are carried on a regular basis to help you deal with the normal everyday needs of modern western society and possible emergency situations. Some of the most common EDC items are knives, flashlights, multitools, wallets, smartphones, notebooks, and pens. Because people are different, the type and quantity of items will vary widely. If you have far to travel for work or have young children, your EDC could be huge! But, even if you're just setting out for a walk around the neighborhood, taking your essential items with you in a pair of cargo pants with large pockets, may be all you need to be prepared.

Follow the links to see what a few of the Prepared Bloggers always carry in their EDC. Would you feel safer with these items close at hand?


Shelle at PreparednessMama always carries cash, find out why and how much she recommends. 


John at 1776 Patriot USA tell us the 5 reasons he thinks his pistol is the essential item to have. 

LeAnn at Homestead Dreamer won't be caught without her handy water filter

Justin at Sheep Dog Man has suggestions for the best flashlights to carry every day. 

Bernie at Apartment Prepper always carries two knives with her, find out what she recommends.

Nettie at Preppers Survive has a cool way to carry duct tape that you can duplicate. 

Todd at Ed That Matters tells us about the one item you'll always go back for...your cell phone.

Erica at Living Life in Rural Iowa knows how important her whistle can be when you want to be safe. 

Todd at Survival Sherpa always carries 3 essential fire starters wherever he goes. 

Angela at Food Storage and Survival loves her Mini MultiTool, it's gotten her out of a few scrapes!

Please check out everyone listed! They all have great advice!

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Monday, March 13, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in March


March is a fun time of the year! You never know what kind of weather you will have, if Spring will actually come in March, and if Winter will ever end. Below, I have a few things you can do this month to keep the winter doldrums at bay and make the time go quicker!

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in March:

1. Buy plastic and plywood for your windows in your house. We recently had a hailstorm near us that caused a lot of damage. Many homeowners had broken windows from golf ball sized hail. Having a some plastic to put over your windows will keep your home protected from the elements until someone can come and fix it. Also keeping a roll of black plastic will be handy in case you need to black out your windows for any reason. Plywood is another good way of covering up your windows if they break or have the potential to break in a bad storm.

2. Make your evacuation plans. While winter is still here for another month or two, the fun Spring and Summer weather is coming. Tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, and other wonderful weather will be here before we know it! Now is the time to make an evacuation plans or review your current plans. Now is the time to ask yourself these questions:



  • Where will you go? 
  • How will you get there? 
  • What alternate routes can you take? 
  • Where is everyone going to meet? 
  • Which vehicle(s) will you be taking? 
  • What will you take with you?

Put a copy of this somewhere safe or in your bug out bag. Make sure everyone in your household knows the plan. The most important part? Practice, practice, practice this plan!

3. Add foods to your food storage that do not require cooking. Sometimes, in times of crisis, having food that you can just grab and eat is wonderful. You might not always have time to cook or the resources to cook food. Some good ideas to have in your food storage:



  • Meal replacement bars
  • Protein bars
  • Crackers
  • Peanut butter
  • Jam or jelly
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Applesauce
  • Canned fruit and vegetables
  • Packets of chicken or ham salad and crackers
  • Packets of cheese or peanut butter and crackers
  • Cereal bars

4. Sharpen your tools. If you are a gardener, now is a good time to sharpen your shovels, hoes, trowels, and other tools. If you have knives, now is a good time to sharpen them whether they are for the kitchen, personal carry, shop, or outdoor use. Keeping your tools sharp can make a job go faster and prevent injury from dull tools. And no one likes a dull tool.

5. Daylight Savings Time means check your batteries time. Daylight Savings Time is a good time to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If you do not have these, now is a good time to get them installed. March is also a good time to check your fire extinguishers to make sure the pin hasn't been pulled and nothing has gotten rusty. You should also take the time this month to make sure the kids and the adults know what to do if there is a fire: how to get out the house, use the fire ladder, where to meet outside the house, and how to call for help.

What do you have planned for March?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, March 3, 2017

Prepping and Decluttering


I have a new video on YouTube today talking about prepping and decluttering. While the two things seem like they might be in conflict with each other, I talk about the process we are going through. 

Some things I will never get rid and I talk about those. Some things are not worth holding on to and are taking up valuable space. What you keep and what you get rid of is a personal decision, keeping too much can cause problems in times of crisis and even bugging out. 

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Thanks,
Erica



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